The Duke’s Christmas Preview

Christmas is here and you’re already fat. Mariah Carey’s blasting out of the TV because despite having a thousand channels you still can’t find anything to watch and the missus fancies some music.

Go along with it, be a good lad, because soon enough the sport will be on and you’ll have hours of entertainment with the racing and the football and the darts.

Racing is my game and tipping is the aim. So let’s dive right in to one race on Saturday to try and earn a bit of Crimbo cash and then the big one on Boxing Day.

Unowhatimeanharry will be favourite for the race and he deserves to be. He was turned over at Newbury but that seemed to be a bit of a freak result and I suspect Harry Fry will have turned over every leaf since then to get his star back on track.

Lil Rockerfeller and L’Ami Serge have both run well at the course before and deserve respect, although they are generally about 5/1 in the betting and that’s not too tasty from an each-way perspective. Thomas Campbell is going the right way for a mighty yard and Sam Spinner is also progressing at a rate of knots. However, the each-way option for me is The Worlds End. It’s a bit of a risky one, but there are a few reasons that 12/1 looks too big. In the Albert Bartlett in March at Cheltenham, The Worlds End was looking poised for a big performance when falling two out. He then went on to record a novice Grade 1 win at Aintree. The ground was probably a bit too heavy for him at Haydock on his reappearance and he was never asked for too much. I think that was a preparation more than anything for this and while he is the second lowest rated horse in the field, I think he could run better than the odds suggest. If you’re just after a simple win bet, I can’t put you off Unowhatimeanharry who will be tough to beat.

On to Boxing Day and the King George VI Chase. Let’s start with Fox Norton. If he’s ever going to get three miles it’s probably at Kempton, which is as flat as a pancake. However, against this opposition you’d have to have a great deal of faith in his ability to get the trip. The fact he’s running suggests to me that the Tizzard team aren’t confident in Thistlecrack. I’m not getting the right vibes. He’s the defending champion and he’s brilliant at his best, but is he at his best? He’s so weak in the market you’d have to say not.

Bristol de Mai was hugely impressive in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, but that was on testing ground and I think he may need a bit more rain to come between now and the race. I really do think Might Bite is the one to beat. He looked like he might be the most impressive winner of the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase last term, but for falling at the last. He’s been faultless since over this kind of distance including wins at Cheltenham and Aintree in two of the biggest novice chases. I think he’s got class, stamina and if he jumps the fences, he’s going to take a lot of beating. Switch your bets to Bristol de Mai if it rains too much though, as Might Bite won’t like very soft ground!

The big priced one is Tea For Two. The horse always runs well at Kempton and he goes on any ground. I think 20/1 is a bit insulting and I’ll have a few quid on him to make the frame too.

Merry Christmas and Happy Punting from The Duke.

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